Expression of Emotion in “The Hills Are Like White Elephants”

I have determined one way the two short stories Hills like White Elephants, and The things they Carried use imagery alike by using it to express characters emotions. While also determining a way that they do not imagery the same. Both stories have a large amount of imagery behind them. Even though they do have a similar amount of imagery added into the setting they both have differences because the imagery affects each story in a different way.

First off, I would like to talk about Hills like White Elephants and how the title itself is being used as imagery to give us an idea of what the story is about. Usually when you hear the words white elephant you would think of Christmas and white elephant gifts. Instead in this case if you define Hills “A heap or mound of something”, with that definition we can consider a hill as decently large. We also all know that Elephants are large too, which can give us the idea that this story is going to be about something large. From the title we can also think of the elephant in the room. Which we can easily compare to something large, because usually when a couple has an elephant, that they need to talk about it is usually avoided because neither side wants to talk about it. Therefore, we can consider the quote “” It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,” the man said. “It’s not really an operation at all.” The girl looked at the ground the table legs rest on (Pg. 121)”. When you analyze this quote, you see that there is something that they need to talk about, but the girl is shying away from the conversation. As well as that the author uses the imagery of “the ground the table legs rest on (121)” to give us an idea of what the girl is doing at this specific moment in time during the conversation.

The imagery that is used in this story really shows us how the burden of emotion can affect individuals as well as the imagery that is used from within the story.

According too, the short story of The Things They Carried we see imagery in the title as well. The title really gives an insight into this story, by give us an idea of what the story is about. Sure, the people in the story will be carrying items on their bodies, but it’s deeper meaning is talking about the emotions and feelings that they had to carry with them compared to the actual items. Sure, we see that they carried physical items like “When a mission took them to the mountains, they carried mosquito netting, machetes, canvas tarps, and extra bug juice (Pg. 396).” Therefore, yes, we can get an idea that they carried physical items with them. Which also, gives us a good sense of imagery of what they would carry into the mountains on missions. But what the title really ties the best to is the imagery and emotion that is shown by

“In those burned letters Martha had never mentioned the war, except to say, Jimmy, take

care of yourself. She wasn’t involved. She signed the letters “Love,” but it wasn’t love, and all the fine lines and technicalities did not matter. The morning came up wet and blurry. Everything seemed part of everything else, the fog and Martha and the deepening rain. It was a war, after all (Pg. 404).”

The above quote gives us a massive amount of imagery to go over as well as tying the title to the emotion and imagery from within the story. The idea of Burned letters that mentioned Love really delves into the idea that Jimmy and Martha love each other, but the fact that he burned the letter shows that the amount of emotion he is feeling due to the war and loss of friends he can no longer hold on to sentimental objects if he plans to survive the war. While from the other half of the quote we can see, more imagery used to describe the morning in which he arose after burning the letters but, the description of the morning plays into the emotions of Jimmy by the inclusion of Martha’s name in the description of Jimmy’s awakening. The very last line of the quote “It was a war, after all (Pg. 404).” gives us a finalization that the emotions told him that he is in a war and that there is no room for emotions while he fights. This ties right back to the imagery behind the title which is the picture of the burden of emotions that the soldiers must carry with them throughout the war.

With the intention, of connecting these two short stories together, we can see that my focus for being similar is that between both stories the imagery and the emotion that affected it has played a role, in how the imagery was used. With this is mind I’d like to look now at how these two stories use imagery different. The main difference that I see in the way imagery is used between these two stories is that Hills Like White Elephants also uses imagery to show the wants of the characters. While The Things They Carried uses imagery to depict what the soldiers carried.

The Hills Like White Elephants uses imagery to show wants of characters by depicting different scenes form within the story. One scene is shown when

“The girl stood up and walked to the end of the station. Across, on the other side, were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away beyond the river, were mountains. The shadow of a cloud moved across the field of grain and she saw the river through the trees. “And we could have all this,” she said. “And we could have everything and every day we make it more possible.” (Pg.121).”

The imagery of fields, river, clouds, and trees gives us an idea of the beauty in which she is gazing upon. The beauty in which she looks upon though is not just the imagery from where they are but it’s something that she states right after that she wants. She doesn’t want what she see’s but she want’s to be able to look at different places around the world that look like what she sees.

Which is reinforced when the man states “We can have the whole world (Pg. 122).” This quote shows that what the girl really wants is to travel around the world and be able to see beautiful places like the one that they are at right now. All together this shows how imagery has affected the wants of the characters within the story.

In contrast, The Things They Carried uses imagery to depict what the soldiers are wearing and carrying where in the other story it doesn’t depict what the man or woman are wearing at any point in the story. A Quote to support this is “In addition to the three standard weapons the M-60, M-16, and M-79 they carried whatever presented itself, or whatever seemed appropriate as a means to killing or staying alive… (Pg. 395-396).” This is just a small piece of the different number of weapons, grenades, and gear that they carried with them into battle. Not only does this show imagery by saying what kind of weapon they used but depicts that there is more to it than those three. As well as that they carried whatever could possible be worth using to kill really gives us an idea of what these men carried into battle.

To conclude, there is one way that Hills Like White Elephants and The Things They Carried use emotion through imagery to promote the emotions of the characters in the stories with imagery. As well as that there is one different way that they use imagery, which is that Hills Like White Elephants uses it to depict what the characters are truly wanting. Whereas The Things They Carried uses Imagery to depict what the characters, carried and used for battle within the story.